Ottawa Senators’ new majority owner is in sight and it’s not who you think.
Earlier this month, we reported on all the prospective bids being placed by investment groups for the Ottawa Senators NHL Ice Hockey team.
Those groups were being headlined by high profile celebrities like Neko Sparks and Snoop Dogg and Ryan Reynolds.
Well, they aren’t going to be the Sens new owners, the Toronto billionaire Michael Andlauer is, according to several media reports.
The Deal is done?
Ottawa Senators insider Bruce Garrioch broke the news yesterday that Michael Andlauer would become the team’s new owner, with a winning bid of close to $1BN USD.
The Torontonian entrepreneur and businessman had managed to beat bids from both Jeffery and Michael Kimel from the Harlo Capital Group, a fully funded bid from Steve Apostolopoulos as well as from the tech entrepreneur Neko Sparks.
Connected with those competing bids were the likes of actor Ryan Reynolds, singer The Weeknd, rapper Snoop Dogg, who appeared as the faces of the investment groups.
More from Garrioch
The insider wrote that Andlauer’s bid had been favoured by the Galatioto Sports Partners (GSP) and the Melnyk estate, the Sens’ now minority owner.
His sources told him that both parties had ‘reached an agreement in principle to purchase the Senators’.
‘That means his offer has been elevated to the next stage of due diligence and work will now ramp up with the National Hockey League to try to close the deal,’ Garrioch added.
Who is Andlauer?
Michael Andlauer is a transportation and logistics magnate, former Beer League goalie and passionate fan.
His experience in team ownership goes back to the early 2000s when he became a co-owner of the Hamilton Bulldogs in the American Hockey League (AHL). He would eventually become full owner.
Then in 2009, he would get himself involved in the NHL when he became a minority owner of the Montreal Canadiens with a 10% stake in the team.
He’s also got two feet in the door with a seat on the NHL Board of governors as a Canadiens alternate.
To become a full owner of the Sens, he needs sell that share in the Habs. A deal for his is in the works according to Garrioch.
The interest in buying the Ottawa Senators begins with the passing of its former owner Eugene Melnyk back in March 2022.
The Canadian businessman had taken ownership after bailing the team out of bankruptcy in 2003. Senators would go on to take part in the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals and the Eastern Conference finals a decade later (2017).
In the November 2022, following Melnyk’s passing, the board of directors for Senator Sports and Entertainment, called in Galatioto Sports Partners to help them put the franchise up for sale.
At the time, the team had been valued at $655M USD according to the sports business publication Sportico.
They added that there was ‘significant interest’ in buying the Senators.
You can find out more about the bids here: Who’ll own Ottawa Senators?
For starters, the financial publication Forbes, last valued the club at $800M USD last December, $275M more than in 2021 ($525M).
Andlauer had been among the Canada based suitors interested in buying the club. Joining him were the likes of the Kimels, former OHL goalie Patrick Dovigi and Hamilton-based billionaire Angelo Paletta and family.
However, it was the bids from the likes of Ryan Reynolds and Remington as well as Neko Sparks and Snoop Dogg, which truly put the team’s future owner race in the headlines.
The initial bids for the club were already projected to be approaching $1BN USD or more.
While the deal has been done in principle, Andlauer will take the majority ownership of the team, not full ownership.
The beneficiaries, Anna and Olivia Melnyk will retain 10% of the Sens’ franchise.
The Senators Sports and Entertainment Board of Governors were very happy with Andlauer saying that he was ‘everything we could have hoped to find.’
‘Michael represents everything we could have hoped to find coming into this process — a passionate owner who is committed to Ottawa,’ Sens’ governor Sheldon Plener said in their press release.
The GREEN LIGHT
Once the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman gives the green light, it still requires the NHL’s Board of Governors’ blessing. They have the final decision to approve and if they do, the Ottawa Senators will begin a new chapter of their franchise.
It does beg the question… What would it have been if Snoop Dogg or Ryan Reynolds and their respective investment groups had won?